Ideas for UI

Just curious as to where folks go to get their initial ideas for the UI? I am not a graphic designer by any stretch of the imagination and I have just become the "e-training" guy at my organization. I have been doing pretty well with building the content slides but I struggle with the overall "story" that is being told.

For example, I am working on a training right now for e-mail security. We want to cut back on the amount of viruses that are entering our network by offering a training for all employees on email security. This will include things like verifying the sender's email address, not clicking on links, hovering over links to see where they are directing you, etc. My idea for the content was to build out an office with a desk and a computer. The computer will get e-mail messages while you are going through the training and you will have to check them and decide what to do (delete/open).

The part that I am not great at figuring out is how to create the initial screens that will lead my learner to the content. Building out the background story or menu screen that you would get prior to the content and activities.

Any thoughts?

BTW, I have only had the program for about 3 weeks and am a huge fan! I have already talked 2 other depts at my organization into buying it as well and have been asked to present 2 different demo's to other depts on what the program can do for them.

7 Replies
Adrian Tschubarov

I am a graphic designer specialised in eLearning and Games, 27 years working on this.

My advise, if you don't have experience designing is (my English is bad, but I guess you will get the points):

1) keep it simple

2) research on the topic

3) think how it would fit in the company's corporate language

4) create designs trying to be universal, it is very difficult to segment and please all of the tastes, so back to 1) keep it simple

5) see other courses an try to start with a design you like as a template, it probable will become your design in minutes. (dont steal, just get some inspiration)

6) my experience is that in eLearning unlike in advertising, you have to be 'cliche' so your creativity should not distract the message. Keep on your sight you are transmitting a message and your design does not have to fight with that message to get the supremacy, but help the user understand, read easily and open their mind.

7) feed your creativity all the time searching and searching images.

8) commercial templates can be cheesy but with some tweaks you can make them yours.


Hope these help!  Adrian

Rob Morgan

Thanks! I have spent a lot of time looking at the projects in the Showcase. I need to get better at story-boarding my training first and particularly focusing on the first few screens. My trainings I have built thus far have been linear and I think I would like to switch to a menu screen where they can choose their own paths.

Adrian Tschubarov

Well, whether the course is linear or not will depend on how you want the learners to navigate them. If the topics can be skipped, you can have a menu to pick the section the user wants to explore, otherwise you should create linear navigations, with locked content.

Sometimes you can just watch designs that are not specifically elearning to get some inspiration

Rob Morgan

While I have locked content down before. I prefer to leave it open for the learner to decide and create my assessments in such a way that if they do not know the material, either from viewing the material I prepared and they skipped or by having a pre-existing knowledge, they will not pass.

For adult learners, which is my audience, I have found that they prefer to have some options and to experiment with where they are navigating rather than being forced down the path I have chosen (I guess that is a pedagogy vs andragogy issue) but all of my courses so far have been linear with only 1 path for the user to choose. I think I may start adding some menu screens with some references or job aids that they can view if they would like and then have a link for my course I have already built.

I did see a comment in another post where someone mentioned that they got their idea for their UI from watching SportsCenter. I have tried using some social media sites to get inspiration as well.

Daniel Brigham

Hi, Rob:

Some sort of desk environment would certainly be appropriate. I might suggest starting with Tom Kuhlmann's desktop example for some ideas. (PowerPoint template downloads) You'll also see he's done a template for a laptop screen. You might find a way to balance these looks, through switching out the background of laptop screen template.

I imagine you are going to need a big image of a computer screen. Btw, Storyline and its screen recordings is perfect for this type of software training. Best of luck, Daniel

Natalia Mueller

Hi Rob!

Many of us got into this field without a graphic design background so you are not alone! I get inspiration from a lot of different places but a great place to start is definitely other courses. I keep a library of examples and screenshots that inspire me in some way or another. You've already been through the Showcase, another great place to find collections of eLearning examples is actually Pinterest. It's not just for fashion and recipes. People have been compiling fantastic collections that you can go thru. Search for eLearning and you will have tons of examples. It's a great idea to capture elements you like as you're looking so you'll have your own library of inspiration to review anytime you need some ideas. 

As for trying methods other than linear, you can always begin with something smaller. Are you using Storyline? Studio works too, but Storyline you could just do it with layers. Either way, you could have a linear course but include short, non-linear segments to begin getting a feel for it. (pic below)

When I'm planning out the course UI I start with the content. What do they need to learn/do? Once I know what is going in the course content-wise I take a step back and determine what areas will benefit most from interactions/activities/etc. I want to be intentional about it and not just throw in a lot of extra clicking. Then I start planning it old school- post it notes and whiteboards. That lets me play with different layouts and flow in a way that doesn't eat tons of time and keeps the process flexible.

I hope this is helpful! ~Natalia